Matt Tarrant: Unsolved Brisbane Review @ Wonderland Festival 2019

  • Written by 
  • Tuesday, 03 December 2019 12:04
Published in Arts News  
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Matt Tarrant Matt Tarrant

Having sold out shows at the Wonderland Festival for the past seven years, magician Matt Tarrant returns with ‘Unsolved’.


While the show was billed as ‘brand-new’ there were quite a few routines that had been used before but despite that, there were enough surprises to confound even the most skeptical of audience members.

With a warm smile and genial personality, Matt is a natural entertainer and his relaxed banter and laid-back presentation means he quickly connects with the audience. In fact, his performance is about as casual as his torn jeans and his apparent blasé attitude toward his craft is what makes him so appealing.

‘Unsolved’ follows the same format as last years’ ‘Honestly Dishonest’ – with the show built around a combination of card tricks, mentalism and unexpected audience responses. Together they make for a fast-paced show which is engaging, inclusive, amusing and baffling.

Like most magicians, Matt relies heavily on audience participation with nearly all of the tricks in his 60-minute show involving audience members. But there is a difference – Matt has a unique way of selecting people to join him on stage. Rather than pick someone from the audience, a soft toy called Catbus (Yes, he’s the character from 'Totoro') is thrown randomly around the theatre and whoever catches it, is invited to join Matt on stage. Surprisingly, there is no shortage of people eager to participate. And for the disbelievers out there, these are genuine audience members, not foils. I know, because both my partner and I were called up on stage when Catbus landed in our laps at different times.

The tricks presented in this show range from mind-blowing, inexplicable predictions, to various sleight-of-hand tricks which are impossible to explain. While Matt’s card tricks aren’t entirely new they are executed brilliantly and he carries them off with sufficient aplomb to impress the near capacity crowd. To add to the bewilderment and heighten the mystique, Matt uses a video screen for some super close-up card tricks which are executed in slow motion – but despite the camera – it is impossible to spot the sleight of hand behind the trick.

A new addition to his show is a feathered character called Bruce The Mind-Reading Goose who manages to read audience members' minds and accurately record their unspoken answers.

Let’s face it, everyone loves a good magic show, and while you know you’re being fooled it doesn’t stop you from wondering, ‘how the hell did he do that?’.

I guess that’s the power of magic. Matt Tarrant definitely has the power!

★★★★☆

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